LONDON Irish wrapped up the Greene King IPA Championship in style and returned to the Gallagher Premiership at the first time of asking with an emphatic 46-7 triumph at Richmond on Good Friday.

On a glorious afternoon at the Athletic Ground, it was actually the home side who made the initial breakthrough, Exiles coughing up the ball five metres from their own line to allow Jesse Liston to pick it up and dot down. Rob Kirby added the extras to put Richmond 7-0 up after six minutes.

That was as good as it got for the relegation-threatened strugglers, though, as Declan Kidney’s men rallied in quick order.

A trademark surging run from young win Ben Loader took the visitors into the Richmond 22, and a flat pass from Ben Meehan found Fijian flanker Albert Tuisue – a star since joining midway through the season – who crossed the whitewash for the try. Ian Keatley converted to level the scores.

Richmond enjoyed a spell of pressure, but with the home side unable to turn territory into points, Irish moved in front against the run of play.

A wonderful team try saw Keatley snipe his way into the Richmond 22 before slick hands from Meehan and hooker Dave Porecki ended with Loader going over in the corner.

The electric Meehan was again involved in the third try, his quick tap penalty allowing centre Terence Hepetema to set-up his midfield partner Bryce Campbell for the score. With Keatley converting it was 19-7, and the bonus-point was secured before the interval when Meehan’s cleverly weighted kick was hoovered up by Loader for him to go over for his second of the afternoon.

With promotion on the cards, there was no let up from the visitors in the second stanza, and 10 minutes in their trusty rolling maul resulted in another try, TJ Ioane the beneficiary at the back of another powerful effort.

Exiles used the same trick to good effect five minutes later – Samoan international Ioane going over again – and they ran in their seventh when Campbell’s inside ball to captain Josh McNally ended with the second row showing a good turn of pace to run the ball in from 30 metres out.

And Irish set the seal on a memorable day when Tuisue’s fellow mid-season Fijian recruit Alvireti Veitokani went over for the final score of the afternoon.

London Irish end their league season at home to second-placed Ealing Trailfinders next Saturday.